This complaint was processed under the old Protocol Addressing Member Conduct Issues (the Protocol), which was still in effect when the complaint was submitted. It relates to the hearing before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of a refugee protection claim which would likely involve testimony that could be disturbing to the young children of the principal claimant. Upon entering the hearing room and seeing minor children present, the member immediately announced that the matter would have to be rescheduled. The member believed that he/she was acting in “the best interests of the children."
The complaint alleges that the member did not allow counsel nor the parent—the designated representative of the children—the opportunity to make representations with respect to the decision to not proceed. It was also alleged that the member was intimidating in the hearing room and insensitive towards the situation of the parent and the children.
The investigation did not question or deal with the member's decision or their authority to arrive at that decision. The investigation dealt only with the conduct of the member and whether or not that conduct was in breach of the Code of Conduct for Members of the IRB (Code of Conduct).
A review of the audio recording clearly confirms that the member did not raise her voice in any way, and maintained a calm and even tone throughout. Allegations that the member conducted themselves otherwise were deemed unfounded. However, rescheduling without consulting counsel or the children's designated representative displayed a lack of sensitivity and respect towards the claimants and might undermine public confidence and trust in the IRB. The conclusion was that the member made a mistake, which was considered a minor breach of section 6 of the Code of Conduct.
A letter of apology, signed by the Acting Chairperson of the IRB, was issued to the claimants.